So, the last week and a half have been pretty jam packed with goodness. A couple days after I got in to Cairo, my friend Kelby flew in from Cali to go to AUC for the semester. Kelby is my Wadi Camp coaching buddy from 2 glorious trips to Egypt before I moved here. She came in around 2am, crashed at my place, checked into her dorm downtown, then we got picked up and headed off to the Wadi camp for 3 days. It was great. We got to help coach with a team from the Netherlands, a Northern Irishman, a French girl, Polish girl, and a Texan. The kids were a lot of fun and Kelby and I felt like locals – being called in last minute to help out for as much time as we could. It has been so good to have Kelby here with the duel Cali/Egypt connection. It’s pretty refreshing. A bunch of the girls I had coached 3 years ago were now taking leadership roles as counselors, which was so cool to see. Not only that, but we learned a great new cheer – “Wadi Wadi, we like to Party”… which only made sense in my head as “Potty”, but some things just work better with accents. The camp also included a “Coaches vs. Staff (Counselors, admins)” football match. Because of the unique makeup of the coaching staff, it turned into “Netherlands vs. Egypt”, so I had the privilege of representing Holland with a sweet orange shirt!
We got an early ride back to Cairo from the Wadi so that Kelby could go to orientation and I could set up my classroom and other pre-first week of school stuff. I can’t get over how much easier it is this year!!! Seriously, last year I was a mess.
A couple days later, the rest of the coaches arrived in Cairo, and I got to meet up with them for a bit and send the Dutch back to the land of orange, then hung out with Michael the Texan and Jonathan the Irishman. It’s so good to meet and hang out with quality people and have good conversations – even if you have no clue if you’ll ever meet up again. It was really cool to tell the story of why I’m here – mostly to remember myself how it’s so much more than a teaching position, but how much has led up to me living here. Sometimes I forget and need to be reminded.
I had passed up a ride down to Dahab (my Red Sea happy place) with the other members of Team Dahab 2008 (Lori, Sarah, Mike). Apparently we had planned the trip in the beginning of the summer and I forgot, but had already said I would meet up with the coaches and go to church with a bunch of people the next day. So I had overbooked and panicked a bit – impulsively bought a plane ticket to Sharm el Sheikh from a super-sketchy travel agent (that’s a whole other story) for my most expensive trip to Dahab ever (1 day cost me more than when I stayed for a week… grrrrr…. Can’t think about it. I’m a committed member to Team Dahab – almost like Team Zissou, but we’re still working on the costumes) So I stuck around Friday, met up with Kelby, Michael, and a bunch of new teachers in Maadi to go to church. It was pretty great to go to church with a group instead of by myself! After we organized a faluca trip, complete with good people, guitar and a great snack and beverage assortment - just chillin on the Nile with a cool breeze on a hot day. Not a bad way to spend the afternoon!
That night I flew to Sinai for 2 nights of Dahab glory – a shortened version of all Dahab has to offer, great dives, great runs, great food, great friends, the sound of waves crashing and bathing in salt water. Drove back for 6 hrs just in time to meet a taxi, Kelby, Michael and his friend who had flown in to Cairo to drive off to a great dinner at this sweet hidden restaurant called Barry’s right across from the pyramids. We watched the sound and Light show for free in German and then in French. It’s told from the perspective of the Sphinx in a nightmarishly creepy voice complete with green lazar beams. The German Sphinx seems much harsher than the French one…Either way, the show not worth paying for but you kind of feel like you’re stealing by watching it from Barry’s! You know, damn the man. Whoever the man is. All I know is he tries to rip off foreigners.
It was the greatest weekend to have right before school started yesterday. My students seem pretty great – a couple punks, but a lot of really sweet kids who I’m trying to convince that Earth Science is better than a PS2 and High School Musical combined. I have one student named “Assem”, which I pronounced something like “Ah, sem” but was corrected that it actually is pronounced “Awesome” which naturally, I am pretty excited about. Awesome also has a pretty significant speech impediment that makes him that much more endearing. My students from last year have been stopping by from the High School upstairs to say hi and tell me about their new teachers, classes, and summer. Good reminder of why I teach.
In other good news, the weather has probably dropped a good 5-10 degrees C over the last couple days, so I can now step outside without instantly becoming drenched in a pool of my own sweat! Hurray!!! I’m currently sitting on my balcony listening to the call to prayer and the wind blow through the mango tree. Pura Vida.
More to come on Ramadan and Haramarama.